FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges That Nestlé Subsidiary Made Deceptive Health Claims for BOOST Kid Essentials

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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission finalized the Order settling charges that a subsidiary of Nestlé S.A., the world’s largest food and nutrition company, made deceptive advertising claims about the health benefits of its children’s drink BOOST Kid Essentials.  As part of the settlement for this case, which is the FTC’s first one challenging advertising for probiotics, Nestlé HCN has agreed to drop the allegedly deceptive claims.

Under the settlement order, Nestlé HCN agreed to:

  • stop claiming that BOOST Kid Essentials will reduce the risk of colds, flu, and other upper respiratory tract infections unless the claim is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  
  • stop claiming that BOOST will reduce children’s sick-day absences and the duration of acute diarrhea in children up to age 13, unless the claims are true and backed by at least two well-designed human clinical studies.
  • not make any claims about the health benefits, performance, or efficacy of any probiotic or nutritionally complete drinks that it sells at  retail, unless the claims are true and backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence.  It also bars the company from misrepresenting any tests or studies.

In the final Order, the Commission modified the definition of “essentially equivalent product” to make it slightly broader.  This modified definition is consistent with the one used in the proposed consent order with The Dannon Co., Inc., another case challenging claims for probiotics (FTC File No. 082-3158, accepted for public comment, December 15, 2010).    

The Commission vote approving the final Order was 5-0.  (FTC File No. 549015; the staff contact is Karen Mandel, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2491; see  the complaint, dated July 14, 2010.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s website at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.  Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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